Clas­sic Ford Cortina is a bar­gain at any price

The Press - - Drive -

We all ac­cept that the orig­i­nal Ford Cortina is a true clas­sic, but would you be will­ing to drop NZ$350,000 on one?

If you im­me­di­ately shouted ‘‘Yes!’’, then here’s some good news. A 1966 ex­am­ple is head­ing to auc­tion in the UK early next year and it’s ex­pected to hit that rather sub­stan­tial sum.

But, it is a rather spe­cial Cortina – it is, in fact, one of three ‘‘Group 5’’ fac­tory rac­ing cars that were built by Lo­tus for the 1966 Bri­tish Sa­loon Car Cham­pi­onship and was ac­tu­ally raced by the likes of Gra­ham Hill, Jacky Ickx and the leg­endary Jim Clark.

Def­i­nitely start­ing to see the value in it now.

The Cortina will be of­fered for sale by Sil­ver­stone Auc­tions in its de­but ap­pear­ance at the Au­tosport In­ter­na­tional at the NEC, Birm­ing­ham, on Jan­uary 12 and is ex­pected to sell for be­tween

£180,000 (NZ$340,000) and £200,000

(NZ$378,000).

Of­fi­cially known as E14 LS, the Cortina was built in March, 1966, reg­is­tered as PHK 614D and was as­signed to Jim Clark for a race meet­ing at Oul­ton Park on April 2.

That meet­ing was dis­rupted by poor weather and the car didn’t get much run­ning but its next out­ing at Snet­ter­ton a week later was more suc­cess­ful.

Clark’s team-mate and fel­low For­mula One driver Peter Arun­dell took it to a sec­ond in class and fifth over­all in the Archie Scott Brown Memo­rial Tro­phy.

Over the next month, two more sec­ond-in-class re­sults were achieved at Good­wood and Sil­ver­stone, with Arun­dell and Jacky Ickx driv­ing.

In May, the car was used as a spare car at Crys­tal Palace and in June the en­gine was con­verted to fuel in­jec­tion by BRM. The first race with the new en­gine was the Grand Prix sup­port race at Brands Hatch on July 16 where Sir John Whit­more won his class and fin­ished fourth over­all.

Arun­dell se­cured third place in the 1966 Bri­tish Sa­loon Car Cham­pi­onship in the car and, while the first race of 1967 was to be the last works event for the PHK 614D, it did fin­ish its Team Lo­tus ca­reer on a high with Gra­ham Hill de­liv­er­ing a first in class and sec­ond over­all re­sult in the Race of Cham­pi­ons at Brands Hatch on March 12.

Af­ter this the car was sold on and con­tin­ued to race in the UK and even­tu­ally South Africa be­fore it was re­turned home in 1997 and re­stored by Cedric Selzar, Jim Clark’s for­mer race me­chanic.

Sil­ver­stone Auc­tions says the car is ‘‘pre­sented in race ready con­di­tion’’ and, im­por­tantly, re­tains its orig­i­nal shell and all the pe­riod race mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the sus­pen­sion and the en­gine, as well as full de­tails of its works com­pe­ti­tion his­tory and a ‘‘small num­ber’’ of spares.

Given a Lo­tus Cortina is a very cool (and very rare) thing, this car, with its com­pe­ti­tion suc­cesses and as­so­ci­a­tion with two world cham­pi­ons, is very much worth the ex­pected sell­ing price. Go on – you know you want it.

Would you pay NZ$350,000 for a Ford Cortina? You prob­a­bly would for this par­tic­u­lar one.

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